Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has cautioned Ugandans to sleep under treated mosquito nets to avoid the current malaria upsurge in the country which started in June this year.
Aceng attributed the upsurge to the current rainy season.
According to the health ministry, the number of malaria cases have increased by over 400000 this year compared to last year from about 1 million cases in June 2018 to 1.4 million cases in June 2019.
This upsurge, the minister says, has affected half of the country with approximately 65 districts hit in the regions of West Nile, Acholi, Lango, Busoga, Bunyoro, Buganda (Kyotera, Kalangala, Luweero, Kampala, Kayunga) Karamoja, Teso (Soroti, Kumi, Amuriat), Western (Kamwenge, Kisoro, Kanungu) and Eastern region (Namisindwa, Mbale, Sironko and Manafwa).
Aceng says this is largely due to climate change; prolonged intermittent rains in various parts of the country that have lasted till to date, reduced ownership and use of treated mosquito nets, low malaria prevalence in areas such as Kampala that has led to laxity, population growth and refugee immigration among others.
Aceng also said that in order to mitigate the upsurge, her Ministry and partners have put in place a number of interventions that will decrease the overall number of malaria cases.
They include distribution of insecticides treated mosquito nets, community outreaches to conduct testing, adequate stocks of subsidized antimalarial drugs, strengthening the management of malaria by village health teams at community level among others.
Despite this however, the Minister says Government is making efforts and gains have been made in the national malaria response over the last decade.
“Malaria prevalence dropped from 42% in 2009 to 19% in 2014 and now 9% in 2019. The Malaria indicator survey (2018/19) shows that annual malaria deaths dropped by 57% from 30 to 13 deaths per 100000 people,” she said.